It is Time for Bahamians to Register as the PLP announces candidates for the General ELECTIONS…
Nassau, Bahamas – The National General Council (NGC) of the Progressive Liberal (PLP) ratified Yamacraw MP and Social Services and Community Development Minister the Hon. Melanie Griffin and former Fort Charlotte MP and cabinet Minister, Alfred M Sears at its monthly meeting on Thursday, 21stAril 2016.
These ratifications represent the first round of several to come as the party assembles its team of candidates to contest the 2017 General Election. This is the culmination of a democratic process pursuant, inter alia, to Article 17 of the party’s constitution with the full participation and blessings of the respective constituencies.
Further, I can assure Bahamians everywhere that they will be proud of the level and quality of Bahamian talent, skill sets and proven leadership that the PLP will present to them for scrutiny, consideration and support. The myriad of challenges facing our country within the context of a dynamic increasingly competitive and complex world demand that we put forth our best and brightest sons and daughters. I remain confident as I survey the political landscape – and in particular the other teams being assembled – that at the end of this process the PLP would have assembled the most talented, accomplished, energetic and prepared team for the challenging task of nation building that lie ahead of us.
Regarding the honourable member for Yamacraw, I have worked very closely with Melanie in both chambers of the House from the time she was in the Senate leading up to the 2002 General Elections, as cabinet colleague and I have observed and admired her ministerial work as private citizen. She remains focused, she approaches her assignments with tremendous energy and passion and as a result, she is an accomplished Minister and legislator who is loved dearly by her constituents. Few can argue that Mrs. Griffin has become one of the country’s great champions for women’s affairs, the equal treatment of those living with disabilities and the protection of our most vulnerable, our children and the poor among us.
As a good Christian woman, mother, and wife, her abiding faith and conviction has served as per guide and moral compass as she executed public policy on behalf of the vulnerable among us. Melanie truly believes that what she does to the least among us she has done unto Christ. Melanie is certainly living proof that justice, social justice and the rule of law can be properly and sensibly reconciled with principles of morality.
Alfred M Sears in my view is also the consummate political leader – be it at the constituency, parliamentary or cabinet level. He represented Fort Charlotte from 2002 to 2012 before his return to private life. It is no secret that his replacement turned out to be a colossal disappointment and I have personally expressed the party’s deep regret and offered an apology on the party’s behalf.
Alfred established and extended the Fort Charlotte Community Center from which after school programs, remedial classes, a Legal Aid Clinic, Summer Camp and job placement programs were conducted. Alfred worked tireless to solve long vexing drainage problem in Fort Charlotte; built the modern T.G. Glover Primary; and established an Urban Renewal Center, a Arts and Craft Festival and built the Ardastra Housing subdivision in Fort Charlotte.
As the country’s esteemed Attorney General from 2002 to 2006, Alfred and his legal team successfully removed The Bahamas from the Monitoring list of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in October 2005. He would later chair the Caribbean arm of the FATF. He also commenced construction of the South Street Magistrate Court complex and led the way in having witness protection laws enacted in The Bahamas.
As the Minister of Education, Science and Technology, the national scholastic performance average improved; Sears also expanded the public school’s tutorial program; negotiated the first Collective Bargaining Agreement with the Bahamas Union of Teachers; began the process toward the establishment of the University of The Bahamas; established the Education Leadership Institute and the National Commission on Special Education. He also started the INSPIRE program with a $23 million IDB loan; expanded pre-school education and established the Bahamas Learning Channel.
As the Minister responsible for public works, I was intimately involved in the single largest upgrade of the country’s education infrastructure. Some $70 million was spent between 2002 and 2007 on extending and repairing schools and constructing 426 new classrooms. That was a massive undertaking by any measure.
With this record of accomplishment in such a short period of time, the interest of The Bahamas will be well served with Alfred as a member of the leadership team charting the course for the future of our beloved country.
I make no apology for making this statement personal because I feel strongly about these choices having worked with both candidates at multiple levels – the constituency level, the parliamentary level and at the cabinet level.
This process will continue in earnest as the party deploys its soldiers in the field and become battle ready for the task ahead. The party is adamant that the process will be democratic and transparent, with the full participation of the constituent each step of the way.
I am happy and proud to predict that Melanie and Alfred will again be in the winner’s column when the ballots are counted.